Delighting Your Customers With Likable Social Media (Book Review)

The introduction of social media tools has made transparency in marketing not only important, but critical. Social media enhances the ability to listen to what customers and prospects are saying publicly for any size company and brand in almost any industry today.  I would argue that listening to customers has always been one of the key tenets of good marketing, and I agree with Dave Kerpen’s precept that that it has never been cheaper or easier to do so because of social media. There is no longer any excuse for companies to be ignorant of what is going on with both their customers and, I would add, their competitors.

Highly readable, this book is just the right mix of case studies, guidelines and suggestions. I read the book in one beach sitting. It is broken into digestible chapters of 12-15 pages in length, and the style is conversational yet substantial, with suggested “Action Items” at the end of each chapter. (I do always wonder if readers actually stop to write down their answers to these exercises. I just wanted to keep reading the book!)

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Privacy, Transparency, and Social Media Controversy In My Own Back Yard

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Apparently I have placed myself directly in the middle of a social media kerfuffle by claiming and posting pictures to a Facebook page for my community (a 500 acre, 66 family, cooperatively-owned tree farm and community association).

An (email) letter from me to my community:

“May 22, 2012

Dear Neighbors:

I realize some community members may be surprised by the Facebook page for Crystal Lake, Inc. As a twenty year resident (and former Board Member) of Crystal Lake, a student of social media at the University of Washington, and a corporate marketer by profession, I have more than a passing interest in this subject. I am currently involved in developing a social media plan for a Seattle non-profit organization as part of my social media class, and have been studying a variety of scholarly issues around social media, including privacy and transparency in corporate and non-profit communications.

Several months ago, I approached the Board because I discovered there was a Crystal Lake Facebook page already created, but it did not have an administrator. It had very little going on. I suggested to Chris [Board President] that it might make sense to take ownership of this page for the community before someone else did. Chris subsequently brought the issue to the Board. They gave me the green light to claim the page for our community, which I did, and I added myself and Chris as administrators. I updated the profile with some pictures and sent the link to the Board to review. I indicated in my email to the Board that the page was public (not private), so that everyone could “Like” it and enjoy posting pictures and having a dialog, even people who lived outside the community.

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4 Factors That Encourage Hashtag Spamming of Twitter Chats

I was physically present (IRL, In Real Life) recently at an event where the Twitter hashtag stream was completely co-opted by twitter spambots. I’ve live-tweeted from a half-dozen tech and cultural events since the beginning of this year, when I first immersed myself in Twitter. I’m very curious about how social media interactions work – and when and why they can go very off-track. When I live-tweet, I try to observe the hashtag stream in real time, usually using Tweetchat.com or setting up a Hootsuite stream. I’ve followed a handful of events remotely via the Twitter hashtag as well, including a recent conference in Boston called Rethink Music (#rethinkmusic). In addition, I participate regularly in a weekly Twitter chat called #ggchat, one of thousands happening all the time in the Twittersphere. Following Twitter hashtag streams has become an integral part of my participation, and that of many others, in this virtual global sociological communications experiment called Twitter.

Maybe because I’m relatively new to Twitter, I’ve never seen a Twitter stream completely taken over by spambots. I found it fascinating and dismaying at the same time. This article in The Atlantic Wire by Rebecca Greenfield gives a good overview of some of the different ways in which Twitter hashtag streams can get co-opted or become annoying. The stream I was on recently was taken over by the Types 1 and 2 spammers which Rebecca mentions: Porn Bots and Jokesters. I didn’t click on any of the links; I could tell the Porn Bots by their Twitter avatars of scantily clad women and the fact they had few tweets, no followers and were following no one. The other category of spammers I saw which Rebecca doesn’t mention I’ll call Job Bots – these are the same as Porn Bots, except the links they promote are to scammy Craig’s List ads, you know: “Easy job! Earn $500 a week using your computer…”

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Can You Fall In Love Through Social Media?

I have never met people in bars or laundromats or hiking clubs. All my relationships since college have heavily involved online communication. You know, the first batch of communication is purely professional, and then at some point it moves to the personal… and the line is irrevocably crossed. Of course, all of my online relationships continued on fairly quickly to become in-person relationships, some of which resulted in marriage, cohabitation and kids. Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t self-select for people who were more comfortable with online communication than in-person interaction. Or, it could be me who is more comfortable with online communication, which would explain a lot.

Until fairly recently, my online communication tool of choice was email, because I’m from that generation, and because it is private. More recently it’s been texting. Social media has upped the complexities of online engagement for me. It’s seductive and addictive: richly multi-media and immediate, global and yet anonymous. I think there are some very real pitfalls with social media, however, that are not as pronounced with other forms of online communication. Unlike email or texting, social media allows stalking and lurking – and that seems inherently fraught with the dangers of a sustained, one-sided infatuation. It’s less accountable, and thus more prone to the (less than attractive) pitfalls of Jungian projection. (I hope you didn’t click on that link and get lost. This really isn’t a psychology post. Well, it is, but only sort of.) On to the real meat of the issue.

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Interview # 2 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

This is the second half of my hour-long interview with Brian Thompson (theDIYDaily.com), a Vancouver-based music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, artist manager, marketing consultant, digital strategist, brand architect, web designer, blogger, podcaster and industry speaker. Formerly the corporate head of buying and marketing for a large Canadian music retail chain, Brian faced a crossroads when his long-time employer went bankrupt. Using social media, Brian has since re-created himself over the past three years to become a well-respected voice on the convergence of independent artist development, music marketing, social media and technology.

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Personal Branding in a Digital World

What is branding? Is it a tagline, a visual icon, a jingle? Or does it stand for something more? What is personal branding? How are our deepest and most personal values – what we stand for – reflected in what we do online and how we present ourselves in a business context?

I just attended the first in a series of workshops facilitated by Michael B. Maine (who I met through Twitter). Michael is a specialist in socially responsible marketing and social entrepreneurship, and is both staff and student at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI), a pioneer in the sustainable MBA degree.

There are so many good things to say about this workshop. The majority of the attendees were members of Michael’s cohort or instructors at BGI, and I have to say: Wow, I have never seen a group of MBA students more excited about being in MBA school. (I am not affiliated with BGI in any way, this is just my personal observation from one evening). I was nowhere near that excited about getting my MBA!

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Interview # 1 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

As a student of social media, I am interested in the role that content plays in the development of a personal brand. To get some firsthand insight into the processes and dynamics that are involved, I interviewed a social media marketing influencer I met through Twitter, Brian Thompson (of theDIYDaily.com).

Brian is a Vancouver-based music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, artist manager, marketing consultant, digital strategist, brand architect, web designer, blogger, podcaster and industry speaker. Brian’s been in the music biz for twenty years. Formerly the corporate head of buying and marketing for a large Canadian music retail chain, Brian faced a crossroads when his long-time employer went bankrupt. Using social media, Brian has since re-created himself over the past three years to become a well-respected voice on the convergence of independent artist development, music marketing, social media and technology.

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